We left the anchorage in Cape May at the bottom of the Delaware River around 1030 in the morning even though the current was against us all day. To make it more interesting, the forecast included light rain and not helpful winds but worse was to come when the dregs of Hurricane Matthew arrived in a day or two with heavy rain, so we decided to see what Peace IV would do with these milder conditions. We did not want to be late for the Polynesian Catamaran Association meeting of Wharram owners and builders in Oxford, Maryland on the 22nd, so if she would go, we thought we had better try. The days are so short already, it could be chancy waiting for perfect conditions in Cape May. We were bundled up against the cold, so the flies could not swarm and bite the way they so often do here. A little comfort for us.
When building the boat, we wondered about just two little outboards to drive this whopper of a boat. Ours are commercial 9.9 Yamahas extra long shaft as per the design so this was going to be a good test for them. Well, we motored until around 5pm and easily made it to the Chohanssey River against the tide where we anchored outside to avoid stronger reversing currents in the river. It constantly amazes us how well these engines do for us. Since Ray Wells cleaned the bottom so recently, we can say with confidence that in calm conditions we would do an easy 6 knots through the water and use about 1 US gallon of fuel per hour of not flat out motoring and 2 engines running. With light to moderate wind against us, we might drop back a knot in speed. With tide also against us, we drop more, but there is still more throttle if you do not mind the fuel consumption going up. So that is good enough for us. Larger engines would weigh more and they would require more heavy fuel tanks and use more fuel which would all cost more and cut sailing speed.
We think these engines work so well because of our slickery hulls and we wish we could afford to haul, sand, paint, and have that slickery sensation all the time. I know we could beach her with the tides and paint, but that reduces the effect of the antifouling because it gets wet too soon. We need a proper haul out to check everything and really do the job properly. It is a shame not to.
We woke to the sound of heavy rain and stayed in bed wondering about the forecast of worse weather. But the rain stopped, we grabbed our morning tea, and Nev got the anchor up and we threaded our way through the crab pots to the edge of the Delaware River shipping channel. Fair tides were about to begin and they took us in mostly dry conditions through the misty Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and to anchor in the top of the Chesapeake at Elk River. Here we saw strings of geese, huge fish jumping, oyster dredging, and admired the bounty of this water.
On our way through the C&D canal, we kept looking behind us keeping careful watch for tug boats, etc. Then out of the mist came the Harvey Gammage, a huge schooner from Maine on passage with us to escape ice up north. A cheerful crowd of bundled people on deck greeted us as she swept past. We are guessing the Gammage is about 80 feet long with trees for rigging and such enormous booms!
Today I am trying to phone up all the lapsed Polynesian Catamaran Association members to tell them of the meet at Oxford Maryland on the weekend of the 22nd. It is so much fun talking about the boats and meeting the people, I do hope this organization can continue to grow. With the new editors of the magazine, it is excellent reading and the color photographs make for excellent day dreams on non sailing days. We hope to have lots of gatherings on the US East Coast. There is one in Florida the first week end in December.
Later sailed to the Sassafrass R.
We now can say that if wind is over 18 knots and tide foul and there is a steep chop, we do make progress motoring, but we moan and cuss and finally decide that lovely little cove looks inviting. Three other cruisning boats made the same decision so I baked a cake and we celebrated the sunny day on Peace IVs deck and told stories.
Motored, motorsailed all up, and motored again to arrive in Oxford, Maryland. The weather man had predicted 10 knot west winds so they came light out of the east. Roger and Marney Ayres brought over something called "Hopping John" for supper and in no time, if felt like we had known them for years. Their spotless home built Tangaroa, Holly, has fixed crossbeams, lots of clever modifications, and looks dainty but strong anchored nearby.
I have decided to use my birthday money to buy Nev a small windlass for the port side anchor because I worry when we set two anchors and he must raise one by hand. We have 100 feet of 5/16 high tensile chain for each anchor and loaded chain is much too dangerous for us old folks to manage by hand. He uses two hands and cannot signal me, he cannot hear me if he is wearing a warm hat, I cannot hear him because he is facing forward. So to reduce my worry, he gets a windlass.
The first half of our voyage is now over, it is time for a PCA party, and the weather is good for the next several days.
To celebrate the baseball team, I just hung a pair of clean, dry red sox out on the line. It is raining presently.
All the best,
Love, Ann and Nev
© Anne and Neville Clement, 2004